Coronavirus Update

Safety Tips for Cleaning & Hygiene

March 26, 2020

At this point, we all know how important it is to wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. But, here are some other helpful hints from a leading coronavirus medical expert on how he keeps safe during this crisis:

  • To protect yourself, sanitize your hands right before eating and right after touching things touched by others.
  • To protect others, use clean hands to touch others’ things or when handling things to others.
  • Sanitize objects you get, and only give out sanitized objects. For example, I have hand sanitizer open and ready to clean my credit card right after I get them back from cashiers before I put it back in my wallet.
  • Outside your house, sanitize smooth surfaces you will touch directly with your hands (e.g. tables and chair edges, wherever you put your phone and computer).
  • Keep track of whether hands/objects are clean. As long as they have not encountered unknown/dirty things after their last cleaning, they don’t need to be recleaned. This is why I suggest immediate sanitation of hands after touching unknown/dirty things, so you can resume using your clean things without worry.
  • You can open doors with your body or foot, and use paper towels to handle faucets or knobs.
  • Create clean zones – your house, your office (if you’re allowed to work), your car.
  • Sanitization can be done by soap and water (hands) or hand sanitizer (hands or objects) or Windex (objects).
  • “Disinfectants” like bleach are for large areas for which soap (due to the need to rinse) or alcohol (due to fumes, expense) is not practical. If you can use soap or alcohol, you don’t need them.
  • Finally, if your hands are clean, you can touch your face! But remember to sanitize them before you touch other people’s stuff.

The Value of Telemedicine Visits

March 24, 2020

At this time, many people may be tempted to cancel their visit and reschedule several months down the road. While that is understandable, it is important to realize that there are many important issues that we can address over videoconferencing. 

On these calls, we can:

  • Review your medications including dosages, refills, and updates
  • Review your home blood pressure numbers if you have a home cuff
  • Perform a wellness check and rule out any concerning symptoms
  • Discuss your treatment plan and determine if updates are needed
  • Answer your questions and concerns.
  • Help you avoid trips to the ER or hospital
  • Determine if an office visit is needed

Patients are finding the telemedicine process easy to use and beneficial. We urge you to give it a try before rescheduling!

Telemedicine Tips: Logging On

March 23, 2020

Below are some steps to follow to connect with your doctor. We use Hale Health which will need to be downloaded in order to video conference with us.

  1. To sign up for a Hale Health account, we will send you an email or text invitation.
  2. Once you receive the link, you can download the app from the app store or play store and then verify the information requested.
  3. If you have given us your social security number, enter the last four digits; if you have not provided us with it, enter “0000”.
  4. Once you are logged in, follow the steps below. 
    Click to enlarge >
Hale Login Instructions

Be Aware of Coronavirus Scams

March 23, 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about fraud schemes related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. However, the services are unapproved and illegitimate.

Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries in a number of ways, including telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.

These scammers use the coronavirus pandemic to benefit themselves, and beneficiaries face potential harms. The personal information collected can be used to fraudulently bill Federal health care programs and commit medical identity theft. If Medicare or Medicaid denies the claim for an unapproved test, the beneficiary could be responsible for the cost.

Protect Yourself

  • Beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare or Medicaid numbers.
  • Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
  • Ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites.
  • A physician or other trusted healthcare provider should assess your condition and approve any requests for COVID-19 testing.
  • If you suspect COVID-19 fraud, contact National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline (866) 720-5721 or [email protected]

Now Offering Telemedicine Visits

March 23, 2020

Telemedicine refers to the practice of caring for patients remotely when the provider and patient are not physically present with each other. Modern technology has enabled doctors to consult with patients by using HIPAA-compliant video-conferencing tools.

What you need to know…

  • For non-urgent visits and routine care, we now offer visits using a combination of video conferencing and phone.
  • We are using an application called Hale Health. Our staff will assist you in downloading the application and its usage. 
  • Medicare, Medicaid, and most other insurance companies are providing insurance coverage for Telemedicine visits. You may have a co-pay or co-insurance.
  • We will continue to accept new patients to the practice. However, your first encounter may be over the phone.
  • Our offices are open to see patients with urgent needs.

Other things to keep in mind…

  • Please let us know if you are going to the hospital.  There are different levels of triage and we can help expedite your care. 
  • We know people have a lot of questions/concerns and we are experiencing high call volume. If possible, please hold off on calls for non-urgent issues.  We will be placing priority on urgent calls first. 
  • If you do need to be seen in an office for a visit, you may be asked to go to an office that you do not traditionally visit. Thank you in advance for your flexibility.

Current Health Recommendations

March 22, 2020

We know that there are stories in the press that may be concerning. Please don’t call us or send us information about your latest online search; we are very aware of ongoing recommendations. Some information is based on very limited data and other information may be inaccurate or require further research.

  • There have been some concerns raised about the coronavirus and commonly used medications including Losartan, Valsartan, Lisinopril, or other medications in the ACE or ARB family. At this time there are no recommendations about stopping or starting any of these medications.
  • There have been concerns voiced about not using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as Advil. This is still under investigation. We recommend using Tylenol products first.
  • At this time, there are no proven preventative or treatment medications such as chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). Some of the research articles in the news cycle are only involving six patients. These medications have some cardiac complications. 

Please make sure to talk with your doctor before discontinuing or adding any new medications.

Keeping an Eye on the Coronavirus

March 10, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak is a very dynamic and serious situation. At Consulting Cardiologists, our utmost concern is for the welfare of our patients and staff. Unfortunately, people with cardiovascular disease and advanced age are at significantly higher risk from this virus.

We are asking for your cooperation to minimize any potential spread of this virus. Please bear with us as we institute policies that may temporarily impact your personal experience at Consulting Cardiologists.

  • If you have a cough, fever, or flu-like symptoms, please contact us before coming to the office so that we can reschedule your appointment.
  • Please notify the staff if you have been in any high risk areas or been exposed to someone with the coronavirus.
  • We will be following the Hartford Hospital policy regarding handling of suspected cases of coronavirus.
  • Before and after your office visit, please wash your hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol.

For more information regarding hygiene recommendations and government information, please visit the helpful CDC site.